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Anderson content with darts title
27 Mar 2015 15:03
“If I never win another tournament in my life – so be it, I don’t care, my name’s on the big one.”
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That’s how Gary Anderson, champion of the world, feels at the moment. The 44-year-old Scot is the holder of the Sid Waddell trophy, the prize for beating 16-time champion Phil Taylor in January’s showpiece final at Alexander Palace in London.
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In another chapter of nail-biting darts drama, Anderson beat the best player ever to play the sport to claim his first World Championship title in a thrilling final that went to a deciding set.
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On form coming into and during the competition, Anderson blew a 3-1 and 6-4 lead to allow the Power back into the game. Few would have bet against the Stoke man from collecting his 17th title at that point. But Anderson never panicked.
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“The only time I thought I maybe made a mess of it when was it was 6-6,” the world number three told RTÉ Sport.
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“But my first throw in the 13th set was a 180 and that settled me right away. I had the throw in that set so he had to break my throw to beat me and I was damned if he was going to do that.
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“There was no way I was going to lose my throw. And then in the second leg in the final set, he missed three darts at a double so I’d a 2-0 lead, which took the pressure off.
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“At 4-3 down, no, still plenty of darts to be played. At 6-6, I thought for a second I could be in trouble here. But once the first three darts went in, that was it. I was happy with that.
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“After the first leg in the final set was in, I was very comfortable. He missed a few darts at a double in the second leg. I finished that one, it was 2-0, my throw, and I kicked off with a 180 again, which settled me right away. So 6-6 was the only time I was kind of worried about it.”
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The 'Flying Scotsman' was beaten in the 2011 final by then 25-year-old Adrian Lewis, who hit a nine-dart finish in the match, and then watched on as another youngster, Michael van Gerwen, lifted the prize in 2014 as a 24-year-old.
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With a punishing schedule on the Professional Darts Corporation tour, did he ever feel that his time had gone, notwithstanding the Taylor (54) phenomenon, that it was now a young man’s game?
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“Sometimes when I wake up in the morning,” said Anderson, in Dublin ahead of the eighth round of the Betway Premier League at the 3Arena.
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“They all talk about youngsters. It’s kind of a bit of a sore point because us old boys can still play the game. We might not travel as well as the youngsters, who have a bit more life about them but it’s harder for us with families, being away all the time.
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“It’s a bit harder on us but it’s only Michael who’s really doing it the now. All the other young superstars who were supposed to be coming up are not performing as well.
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"I think the old boys are still top notch in this game. Of the young guns, Michael’s been the only one that’s kind of holding his ground just now.”
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Anderson won the Premier League in 2011 and currently sits second in the table behind MVG. He has won five of seven games so far and faces Stephen Bunting, the 2014 BDO champion, on Thursday evening.
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The Liverpool native is in his debut season in the Premier League and, after a slow start, has managed to pick up six points. Some felt that Bunting would have made more of an impact but Anderson reckons that the Premier League crowds – there were 10,000 in Glasgow last week and over 9,000 expected in Dublin – take a bit of getting used to.
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“He’s played all right but people expected a lot more of him, it’s just not quite happened for him,” he said. “It’s his first time in front of these crowds.
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"It’s a big step from normal television [events] to the Premier League, it’s a big, big jump, he’s just got to put it down as a learning curve. I’ve played in it five years and I’m nervous as hell when I’m playing it.”
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And as Anderson admits, it’s not just the new boys that are affected by the boisterous supporters. Last week’s event in Glasgow marked the first time Anderson stepped out in front of his home crowd as champion of the world.
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It affected his throw and although he eventually beat bottom of the table Kim Huybrechts, he made hard work of it, coming through 7-5 after leading 3-1 and 5-3.
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“My manager said I was as white as a ghost when I walked out, the nerves were going, the butterflies were going," said Anderson.
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"I mean Kim has played absolutely brilliant this season in the Premier League.
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“It’s his first chance but he’s been hitting 106, 107 averages and losing. You’d probably win 99 out of 100 games with that kind of average. His luck has been bang out, it’s tough when that happens.
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“I think [the crowd] did [affect me] a bit because the pressure was on to win, you want to win in front of your home crowd. There was a bit more pressure than I would have liked but to scrape the win at the end, that was just as good.
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"It was great playing in Scotland for the first time being world champion.”
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But the league is a marathon and not a sprint. Anderson, sitting second in the table, will feel that another couple of wins will see him stand a strong chance of making the play-offs.
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So for now, he can relax somewhat and enjoy his status as world champion, something that can never be taken away from him.
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“It took me that long to get my name on the trophy. I’m one of these professionals now that as soon as that was finished on the Sunday, Monday I was thinking about the next tournament.
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“That’s how I work. I’m actually glad that I got my name on the trophy, for all the years that I’ve played. So if I never win another tournament in my life – so be it, I don’t care, my name’s actually on the big one, which means a lot to a dart player.”
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The Betway Premier League takes place at the 3Arena in Dublin on Thursday night.
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Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting Peter Wright v James Wade Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld Phil Taylor v Kim Huybrechts
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